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Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
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Young Adult Book Discussion > Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

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Jean Marshall | 12 comments Mod
After battling a particularly strong foe, Batman is thrown thousands of years into the past, to prehistoric times. Suffering amnesia, and therefore not knowing he’s Batman, he struggles to find his way back to the twenty-first century, while fighting Puritan witch-burners, pirates, and wranglers of America’s wild west. But as Batman comes closer to the present, he puts the universe at an increasing risk of destruction, and other superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman try to stop him by.

If you didn’t get that, neither did I, exactly. But I still enjoyed the graphic novel, even while rereading some segments hoping to understand them better. (The time travel, superstring theory, wormhole talk gets a bit thick.) And what I found most interesting about this and other recent Batman graphic novels is that Batman is taking on nonhuman, almost spiritual qualities. In Neil Gaiman’s "Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?," for example, Batman faces death, only to realize that, as Batman, he never truly dies, being reborn again as Bruce Wayne, who will became Batman again. In that story and others, Batman’s history in comics is revisited, going back to his earliest days of the thirties through the sixties and to the present, as if Batman is more than a man; perhaps a spirit like, well, I hate to say Santa Claus, but that works pretty well. And this makes sense, since Batman’s only super power is his super wealth, he needs something else to make him seem super human. After all, Superman is a powerful alien and Wonder Woman is an Amazonian Princess.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, she spoke my favorite line from Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, saying: “Such hubris on the part of mortals has always had a price. BATMAN MUST DIE!” Can the immortal superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman kill the merely mortal Batman to stop him from destroying the universe? Maybe not.

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